Category Archives: USA Hockey

OLD NEWS, BUT NOW OFFICIAL – KRISTO SIGNS

kristo_danny_hwp1314RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD DANNY KRISTO

NEW YORK, August 21, 2014 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Danny Kristo.

Kristo, 24, skated in 65 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points, along with 18 penalty minutes. He led the team – and tied for seventh among AHL rookies – in goals, tied for second on the team in power play goals (seven), ranked third in points, and finished fifth in shots on goal (146). Kristo tallied his first career AHL goal in Hartford’s season opener on October 5 vs. Norfolk. He registered a point in eight of the first 10 games of the season (seven goals, five assists over the span), and tallied the first of two three-game goal streaks during the year from October 18 vs. Manchester to October 23 vs. Portland. Kristo also posted the first multi-goal effort of his AHL career on January 29 vs. Adirondack. Continue reading

HAYES, A FORMER 1ST RD PICK, STARTS CAREER WITH NYR

Kevin Hayes (BC - 12)
Image courtesy of photoshelter.com

rp_new-york-r_thumb7.gifBY: The New York Rangers

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free agent forward Kevin Hayes.

Hayes, 22, skated in 40 games with the Boston College Eagles of Hockey East (NCAA) this past season, registering 27 goals and 38 assists for 65 points, along with 16 penalty minutes and a plus-34 rating. Hayes was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in collegiate hockey, and he was named to the NCAA East First All-American Team and Hockey East’s First All-Star Team. He established collegiate career-highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus rating, power play goals (six), and game-winning goals (six). Hayes ranked second in the nation in points, third in plus/minus rating, fourth in assists, and fifth in goals. He finished second on Boston College in goals, points, game-winning goals, and shots on goal (140), tied for second in power play goals, and ranked third in assists and plus/minus rating. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK MAKE MORE MOVES

gerryBY: Gerry Cantlon, Special to Howlings

The Hartford Wolf Pack roster overhaul continues.

The New York Rangers have signed yet another veteran for a team that is taking on a more veteran/older look than has been seen in the Connecticut capitol in sometime. That’s not to say that youth and development isn’t still the primary core mission for Ken Gernander and his staff, but trying to make the Pack a competitive team all season long, rather than just the first month and the last 25 games as they were last year, is clearly the off season campaign goal.

The latest signee for Hartford is forward Ryan Potulny. Fans will remember Potulny from his time playing with their I-91 rivals in Springfield.

Potulny played last season in Hershey after not signing until December 22nd.  He tallied three goals and seven assists (ten points) in 38 games. Potulny can play all three forward spots, but it would seem that the organization has the veteran targeted for an upgrade at the center slot. With 408 games under his belt, Potulny qualifies as a veteran.

Rangers training camp looks to be highly competitive for the fourth line center slot which also encompasses PK duty. JT Miller, the recently signed Matt Lombardi – who has serious NHL games under his belt, as well as Chris Mueller -who was signed from the AHL Calder Cup Champion Texas Stars, the Pack’s Oscar Lindberg and Potulny will all get a chance to audition for that role.

By default, a position Hartford has had issues over the past several years, will invariably be stronger when the season kicks off in October.

Potulny’s brother, Grant, is an assistant coach at Wolf Pack’s head coach Ken Gernander’s alma mater University of Minnesota.

NEW COACH ADDED IN NEW YORK

New Rangers assistant coach Darryl Williams has Connecticut ties. He played with the AHL New Haven Nighthawks from (1988-1991) playing 136 games with 28 goals and 58 points and 495 PM. He also spent nine years in the old IHL playing 540 games with 98 goals 224 points and 1,906 PM.

The Rangers are his 15th city between his junior and pro career. He spent the last six years as a Vancouver Canucks assistant coach. His role included being  in charge of video and he lost his job there as part of the entire coaching staff that was purged in the spring housecleaning after John Tortorella’s era ended.

Williams was an assistant coach for two years with the AHL Cincinnati Ducks (2002-2004) and played half a season of junior hockey in Canada’s western most city, Victoria, BC (WHL 1985-86). He returned as assistant coach to his native Newfoundland, the eastern most province and city, St. John’s, for one season with the defunct QMJHL team, the Fog Devils in 2006-2007.

LOTS OF CHANGES IN TEXAS

The Texas Stars will become the 14th AHL team owned and operated team by their NHL parent club, the Dallas Stars. The Stars parent holding company, Northland Properties, will purchase the team currently operating under the business title, Hicks Cedar Park LLC.

This completes the long and complicated bankruptcy of former Dallas Stars owner, Tom Hicks. The AHL team was not a part of his Hicks Sports Group, but was under his children’s names exempting them from the situation. Dallas was purchased by Tom Gagliardi and are now in the process of consolidating their operations, which this move was part of.

Former New Haven Senator Scott White, the current Stars GM and Director of Player Development, will continue in that role for the Austin, Texas based team.

The only change in store for the Texas Stars will be a uniform upgrade next season to the current Dallas ‘victory green” color scheme for the defending AHL Calder Cup champs. The Kelly-Green based uni’s are currently one of the NHL’s best sellers. Personally, any uniform that isn’t centered around some form of black, like so many other pro sports teams seem to be going to, is nice to see.

NOTES:

  • The Regina Leader-Post reports that former Wolf Pack head coach, and all time top AHL coach, John Paddock, has been hired as the WHL Regina Pats new head coach.
  • The Rangers renewed their Double AA ECHL affiliation with the Greenville Road Warriors for two more years. Hartford and Greenville have been together since the Road Warriors inception in 2010 after the Charlotte Checkers moved from the ECHL to the AHL. The Road Warriors also signed forward Justin Vaive to a new one year deal. Its kind of a surprise after Vaive played so well down the stretch for the Wolf Pack that he didn’t earn an AHL deal. he would seem to possibly be a victim of the numbers game. Anything can happen though in training camp.
  • Former Wolf Pack, Mikael Samuelsson, has returned to Sweden to play for Djurgarden IF in the Swedish Hockey League.
  • Former Wolf Pack Tommy Pyatt, who played with Tampa Bay Lightning last year, has signed with HC Geneve (Geneva)-Servette in Switzerland-NLA.
  • Jordan Owens, who started last year with the Hamilton Bulldogs and ended the season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, heads back over to Europe with SSI Vitipeno in the Italian LIHG in the A Division.
  • Former Wolf Pack goalie Chris Holt was let go with Lincoln (USHL) as an assistant coach. Holt will lace up the skates and strap on the pads once again for defending Italian League Serie A champion EV Ritten/Renon. The team features recently re-signed ex-Wolf Pack Patrick Rissmiller.
  • One tine Wolf Pack and Sound Tiger defenseman Joel Bouchard owner, president and GM of Blainville-Boisbrand (QMJHL) added one more title, head coach. Bouchard assumed the title Thursday after his head coach, J.F. Houle, signed with Bakersfield (ECHL) as their new head coach.
  • Leaving the playing ranks and heading into coaching is former Wolf Pack, Rico Fata, who will be the developmental skills coach for the Soo Batchewana Attack of the brand new Canadian International Hockey League another Junior A type league starting play this fall. The team is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on the First Nation Reservation.
  • Son of Hartford Whaler, Landon Ferraro, has signed a one year two-way (NHL-AHL) deal with Detroit. He spent most of last year in Grand Rapids. Another former Whaler’s son, Jakub Baca, son of Jergus Baca, (Ten games with the Hartford Whalers) has signed with the Danbury Whalers of the Federal Hockey League for the 2014-15 season. He played last year in the Slovakia second division with HK 32 Liptovsky.
  • The 6’8″ former Sound Tiger defenseman, Joe Finley, signed a one year AHL deal with Hamilton. Foward Joey Martin who played nine games with the Sound Tigers heads to Cardiff, Wales to play in the EIHL. Mark Lee, who’s played the Wolf Pack and Sound Tigers, goes from Schwenniger in the German DEL to Nottingham in England and the EIHL. Former Sound Tiger, Daniel Tetrault, moves over in the Central Hockey League from the defending champion Allen (TX) Americans to the Rapid City (SD) Rush coached by one time Sound Tiger assistant Joe Ferras.
  • One-time Springfield Falcon, Todd Gill, who was let go as head coach by the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, was named the first assistant coach with the Adirondack Flames. Springfield tabbed Toby Petersen as its new second assistant coach and one time Falcon, Ben Simon, becomes the second assistant with the Toronto Marlies.
  • Springfield signed Mike Hoeffl (Albany Devils) and Hubert Labrie (Texas/Idaho-ECHL) to one year AHL deals.
  • Kirill Kabanov, the mercurial Russian winger who lasted just 16 games after an early season arm injury in Bridgeport and who then went to Stockton of the ECHL and closed out the season with MODO (Sweden-SHL), has signed with Swedish team Skelleftea AIK for next season.
  • Worcester’s Rob Davidson has retired and begun his coaching career in Austria with EC Salzburg as an assistant coach. Joining him with the Austrian team is Kristoff Kontos, son of former New Haven Nighthawk and New York Ranger, Chris Kontos. You may recall that the younger Kontos, finished up his junior hockey career with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL and ended the year with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.
  • New Hartford native Mike Cichy signs with Florida (ECHL) after graduating from Western Michigan (NCHC).
  • Old Lyme, CT native, Matt Nickerson, has re-signed with the Fife (Scotland) Flyers of the English league EIHL.
  • 72 AHL players have now signed with European teams for next season. The latest signees include; Adirondack Phantoms Kyle Flanagan with MODO Sweden while his teammate, Cullen Eddy, joins Sheffield (England-EIHL). Dan DaSilva, who was with Worcester and Ontario (ECHL) signs with Augsburger (Germany-DEL); while Guillaume Desbiens of Lake Erie is off to Austria Dorbirner EC. Chay Genoway is the 9th Hershey Bear to leave to Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL).
  • Quinnipiac University alum Neil Breen leaves Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL) as an assistant coach to be an assistant coach with the Tri-City Storm (USHL).
  • Former Hotchkiss Prep star goalie Zane Kalemba moves over from HC Banska Bystricka (Slovakia-SLEL) to Rungsted IK (Denmark-DHL).
  • Eric Esposito, of West Haven, who played at Loomis Chaffe Prep School last year, which won the New England small prep school title in the spring, has given an oral commitment to the University New Hampshire for 2015-16 will play with Youngstown (OH) Phantoms (USHL) this year. His younger brother, Alex, also played at Loomis Chaffe has committed for the University of Vermont (HE) for 2016-17.
  • At the US World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, New York, Quinnipiac University defenseman and fifth round Phoenix draft pick, Connor Clifton, was cut along with 14 others prior to a weekend slate of three exhibition games against Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. Yale University sophomore John Hayden did make the cut, but incoming Yale freshmen Ryan Hitchcock was not.
  • North Branford’s, Adam Erne, (Tampa Bay) didn’t participate because of a wrist injury and Cole Cassels, son of former Whaler Andrew, and a Vancouver Canucks draft pick, also did not participate because of an illness.
  • The Finnish team will feature recent Pittsburgh Penguin first round pick Kasperi Kapanen, son of former Whaler, Sami, and Sweden will have William Nylander, Toronto’s first round pick and son of former Whaler/Ranger, Michael, plus Victor Cruz Rydberg who played some games with Bridgeport at the end of season after his Plymouth Whalers (OHL) season ended.
  • One time New Haven Nighthawk Dennis Desrosiers returns to the radio booth of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) doing color commentator.

CANTLON’S CORNER: OFF-SEASON ACTIVITY CONTINUES

gerry-300x260BY: Gerry Cantlon, Special to Howlings 

Preparations for big changes in the AHL after next season have already begun with the announcement of division realignment for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

For the Hartford Wolf Pack and Bridgeport Sound Tigers, things will remain the same. Both teams are parked in the Northeast Division along with the Albany Devils (New Jersey) and Springfield Falcons (Columbus). The only change that’s coming is that Adirondack is now an affiliate of the Calgary Flames. This leaves the Western conference, North Division, with three other Canadian affiliated teams Utica Comets (Vancouver), Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal) and Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs) and Rochester Americans (Buffalo). Continue reading

RANGERS SIGN A SLEW OF PLAYERS LIKELY FOR WOLF PACK

ny-ranger-logo-150x145BY: The New York Rangers

DEFENSEMAN MIKE KOSTKA

NEW YORK, July 1, 2014 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Mike Kostka.

            Kostka, 28, split this past season between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, registering four goals and seven assists for 11 points, along with eight penalty minutes and a plus-10 rating in 28 games. He established career-highs in goals, points, and plus/minus rating, and tied a career-high in shots on goal (49). He also posted a plus or even rating in 24 of his 28 games. Kostka tallied his first career NHL goal on October 19 vs. Toronto. He registered the first multi-point game of his career by recording two points (one goal, one assist) on December 10 at Dallas. Kostka made his Tampa Bay debut on March 1 at Dallas, and tallied the first multi-assist game of his career in his second contest as a member of the Lightning on March 2 at Colorado. Continue reading

RANGERS INTRODUCE FANS TO 2014 DRAFT PICKS

ny-ranger-logo-150x145RANGERS MAKE SEVEN SELECTIONS IN 2014 NHL DRAFT

Blueshirts draft two forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies

BY: The New York Rangers

PHILADELPHIA, June 28, 2014 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather, along with Director of Player Personnel, Gordie Clark, oversaw the club’s activity in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team, which held seven picks in the draft, selected two forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies.

The Rangers made all seven of their selections on Saturday, starting with goaltender Brandon Halverson in the second round (59th overall). Halverson appeared in 19 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this past season, posting a 12-6-1 record, along with a 2.96 GAA, a .904 SV%, and two shutouts as a rookie. The Traverse City, Michigan native recorded a shutout in his OHL debut on October 5 at Belleville, stopping all 32 shots he faced. Halverson also posted a personal four-game winning streak from March 1 vs. Kitchener to March 16 vs. London, registering a 1.75 GAA, a .947 SV%, and one shutout over the span. Continue reading

RANGERS ANNOUNCE PROSPECTS CAMP

ny-ranger-logo-150x1452014 RANGERS PROSPECT DEVELOPMENT CAMP

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, June 28, 2014 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the team will hold the 2014 Prospect Development Camp from Monday, June 30 – Friday, July 4, at Madison Square Garden Training Center. The camp will bring together several of the team’s top prospects, including Anthony Duclair, Brady Skjei, Mackenzie Skapski, Pavel Buchnevich, and Adam Tambellini.

Duclair, 18, registered 50 goals and 49 assists for 99 points, along with 56 penalty minutes in 59 games with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this past season. Duclair established QMJHL career-highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals (15), shorthanded goals (three), and game-winning goals (seven). He also ranked third in the league in goals, sixth in the league in points, seventh in the league in power play goals, and tied for seventh in the league in game-winning goals. Continue reading